1844 Ballenz weiss
Ostschweizer Landwein, Roland und Karin Lenz, 2019
The exoticism of Sauvignon Blanc sets the tone in this cuvée. The nose releases an exotic fragrance reminiscent of passion and citrus fruits. A playful floral note of lime blossom, freesia and orange blossom resonates. The first sip already offers pure drinking pleasure! The Ballenz is bursting with juiciness, lively and crisp freshness. A pleasantly sweet and sour interplay with a fine, salty finish. An outstanding aperitif wine and accompaniment to Swiss-style tapas or a colourful salad. With each purchased bottle of Ballenz Red and Ballenz White you are supporting the winery's biodiversity project with 50 centimes. Baur au Lac Vins in turn contributes another 50 centimes. Read more about this in the portrait.
|Origin:||Schweiz / Ostschweiz / Thurgau|
|Grape variety:||Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Souvignier Gris|
|Ripening potential:||1 to 2 years|
|Serving temperature:||10 to 12 °C|
|Food pairing suggestion:||Apéro riche, Fresh water fish with cream sauce, Crispy roast chicken, Asparagus specialities|
|Vinification:||pressed carefully and immediately|
|Maturation:||in steel tank|
Switzerland – A small country with enormous diversity
Switzerland is famous for its banks, watches, and cheese, but not necessarily for its wine. The Swiss didn't invent wine, but they have been extremely open and curious to it. Wine culture arrived in what is now modern Switzerland via several routes: from Marseilles to Lake Geneva and the Lower Valais region; from the Aosta Valley through the Great St. Bernard Pass to the rest of Valais; from the Rhone through Burgundy, across the Jura Mountains to Lake Constance; and from Lombardy to Ticino, and then on to Grisons.
Eastern Switzerland: an intriguing puzzle
Eastern Switzerland has long been positioned on the northern rim of the climate zone where the cultivation of popular Swiss varieties is possible. Due to a warming climate, the vineyards of Aargau, Zurich, Schaffhausen, Thurgau and Graubünden are now in the zone where varieties such as Müller-Thurgau or Pinot Noir succeed excellently. But even long-established, almost-forgotten varieties such as Elbling, Räuschling and Completer are experiencing a renaissance.
Thurgau: a small wine canton shows contour
Although Thurgau is a smaller wine-growing canton, with a cultivation area of just 260 hectares, six different growing zones can be differentiated here. The heart of viticulture in Thurgau is the Thur valley, with its two prestigious sites, Ottenberg at Weinfelden, and Iselisberg near the canton's capital, Frauenfeld. The reference variety is very clearly Pinot Noir, from which a series of premium wines is produced today. But red and white specialties are also on the rise. And the long-spurned Müller-Thurgau variety is experiencing a renaissance.
Roland und Karin Lenz
In 1994, while Roland Lenz was still studying oenology, he and his wife Karin were able to acquire eight hectares of vines on the Iselisberg. It was a unique opportunity that they seized, even though they were toying with the idea of setting up their own business abroad, far from Switzerland. They actually did so later, but that's another story…
It is only in the last two decades that the Canton of Thurgau has really come to the attention of wine lovers as a wine-growing area. Its apple orchards and the apple juice (must) pressed from the picked fruit have always been popular, inevitably earning the canton its nickname of «Must India». Viticulture, however, has existed in this region for centuries.
The cold-weather king
The Riesling is the flagship of the German wine industry. It grows from north to south in all growing areas. It is also comfortable in the neighbouring Alsace region and in Austria. Its specialty is being vinified to a variety of degrees of sweetness, from bone-dry wines to ice wine. Moreover, thanks to its spirited acidity, it ages better than many reds. The typical Riesling smells of citrus, peach and apricot, shows hints of flint, and with maturity develops an idiosyncratic petrol note. It reflects its terroir like hardly any other white variety. Thus, it often gets fuller and more aromatic in Austria than in Germany. In Alsace, in turn, it has a particular mineral taste. Riesling is a wonderful culinary companion. It fits well not only with fish and shellfish, but also takes the heaviness from hearty meals. And with a fine sweetness and acidity balance, it works wonders for Asian cuisine.
The Sauvignon blanc can be recognized with your eyes closed. Its typical bouquet is marked by green notes: freshly cut grass, tomato bunches, gooseberry. Citrus fruits, cassis and flint join into the mix. In warmer latitudes it also shows exotic aromas, such as passion fruit. Its acidity is decidedly lively. In all likelihood, it comes from the Loire Valley, where it is vinified in Pouilly-Fumé and Sancerre in its purest form: varietally, and without timber. In the 18th century, it found its way to Bordeaux. Ambitious producers assemble it there with Sémillon into substantial whites, which are aged in oak barrels. The Sauvignon blanc has been a sensational success in the past 20 years in New Zealand. With its refreshing sweet-and-sour style, winemakers from down under have conquered the world. The rich Sauvignons from Styria and crisp examples of South Tyrol and Friuli are worth mentioning as well. It pairs with anything from the sea. Or do it like they do on the Loire, and enjoy it with goat cheese.